Heart and Soul

Dejan Stankovic SCROLL TO READ STORIA N.27 / 110

It’s mid afternoon on April 22nd 2007 and the entire Nerazzurri squad are focused on the Siena penalty area, where Marco Materazzi is about the take the penalty that will gift Inter their 15th Scudetto. However, like many of the most passionate fans, Dejan Stankovic can’t bring himself to watch and instead faces Ivan Cordoba to watch his reaction. Soon follows a celebratory hug and then jubilation as Inter celebrate their latest league title triumph.

Deki’s obvious attachment to the Inter shirt shone through in moments like this. This was also the case during the 2008 celebrations in Parma, when he knelt down in tears in front of the visiting supporters, overcome with emotion after yet another hard-fought victory. Stankovic is one of the best-loved players for Nerazzurri fans, precisely because of how he shared with them his pain and happiness, his triumphs and defeats. He was there during the barren spells and then finally for the unforgettable treble. His rise began with goals against Milan (from a corner) and Juventus in the first few months at the club, before it then ended with a night in Madrid. The crowning jewel in a career that began with Red Star Belgrade when he was just 16.

Throughout his career, Stankovic shown the spirit of a warrior and the class of an artist, covering all types of different roles for Inter. He played on the wings, as a trequartista, a playmaker, a deep-lying midfielder and even as a second striker. He was willing to dig-deep for his team, also possessing a right-footed strike that could do some serious damage from distance. His shooting ability led to some famous goals for the Nerazzurri, for example his exquisite efforts against both Genoa and Schalke 04. His eventual departure as a player was an emotional moment for involved at the Nerazzurri. The flame of the ‘Dragon’ does not light up the Meazza any longer, however his heart undoubtedly still remains Nerazzurro.

I had the honour of wearing this shirt’s colours and they will forever remain on my skin. I will never be able to erase them, nor will anyone else.

Dejan Stankovic

Dejan Stankovic (Belgrade, September 11th 1978) joined Inter from Lazio for €4 million back in January 2004. He played 326 matches during nine and a half years with the Nerazzurri, scoring a total of 42 goals. His nickname was the ‘Dragon’ and he is one of the most prolific midfielders in the club’s history. With Inter he won five Scudetti, four Coppa Italia trophies, four Supercoppa Italiana titles, one Champions League and one World Club Cup. He is also an icon in Serbian football, having captained Red Star at the age of 18 and also made a record 103 appearances for his National Team.